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(TORONTO – January 20, 2010) – Today marks the fourth annual Developmental Services: Worker Appreciation Day and communities across Ontario are celebrating the important work of the people who care for and support individuals with developmental disabilities.
To mark the occasion and to reinforce the importance of this sector of skilled workers, unions and an employer group today signed a Joint Declaration in recognition of developmental service workers across Ontario. In doing so, they called on the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty to make immediate improvements to salaries and compensation.
“We see such a joint statement as being a constructive step in improving services and supporting workers to stay in the field,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “It builds on the work that our members have been doing locally with individuals, families and employers both to provide and advocate for consistent, quality supports.”

“We invite executive directors in agencies across the province sign on to this Joint Declaration in the interest of making long term improvements to our sector,” said Brian Young, president of (OASIS) Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs. OASIS represents employers at 145 agencies and their volunteer boards in Ontario. 

“Providing services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society is the best expression of our selves. Our members make this vital contribution everyday on the job, in the simple and complex tasks they are faced with,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU. “We encourage everyone to join us in thanking the developmental service workers in our communities.”

Developmental services workers in community-based agencies provide professional care to people with developmental disabilities through programs designed to enrich their lives in every way possible. The work they do is varied, providing life skills and other training; support with basic personal tasks; and administering medications. Developmental services workers are on the job around the clock in community residences and high support behavioural homes, as well as providing support to individuals in their own homes.

For further information on this issue and the local events, please contact:
Luisa Quarta, (416) 443-8888 ext. 8628 OPSEU Communications
Pat Daley, (416) 292-3999 ext. 240 CUPE Communications